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Home > Environment, Health and Social Justice > India: Bhopal Gas Disaster Continues - New Abnormalities Seen in Third (...)

India: Bhopal Gas Disaster Continues - New Abnormalities Seen in Third Generation of Children

7 March 2013

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Gulf News

Bhopal gas victims suffer from new abnormalities

As many as 3,000 new-born children are either mentally or physically challenged

IANS
Published: 16:29 March 3, 2013

Kolkata: The probability of a baby being born with congenital anomalies is seven times higher in areas of Bhopal affected by the 1984 gas tragedy, doctors said here on Sunday. The effect is evident even in the third generation.

Tonnes of lethal gas leaked from the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticides plant killing and maiming thousands in the Madhya Pradesh capital on the night of December 2-3, 1984.

As many as 3,000 new-born children are either mentally or physically challenged and in many cases both, said Jyotirmay Samaddar, a doctor from the city who has been working for the last 20 years with the victims of the world’s worst industrial disaster.

Moreover, in many cases the abnormalities are unique and vastly different from the existing ones, say doctors.

“While the effects of the disaster were visible in the second generation, it is now increasingly becoming evident even in the third generation with a large percentage of children being born with congenital anomalies,” Samaddar told reporters.

“We have surveyed around 20,000 families from the affected areas and found that almost 3,000 children have been born with serious deformities and a majority of them suffer from multiple deformities,” said Samaddar.

Samaddar also said that the ground water of the area had been steadily contaminated much before the disaster that struck on the night of December 2-3, 1984.

“Even since the plant was established in 1969, it had been releasing toxic wastes into the environment which gradually permeated below the soil and contaminated ground water. The high rate of children with deformities is a collective result of poisonous water and air,” added Samaddar.

Bhopal-based doctor Devendra Panchal, who too has been treating the victims over the years, said that in many cases the abnormalities were vastly different from known and existing disorders.

Both Panchal and Samaddar, who are here along with seven Bhopal gas victims, emphasised the need for a study to have more knowledge about the disorders.

Talking about a nine-year-old girl Ganga, who is both physically and mentally challenged, Panchal said: “Initially we all thought that she suffers from cerebral palsy. But her disorder, though similar to the disease, is different in many ways.”

Ganga can neither walk nor talk and only groans to communicate. However, her thousand watt smile attracted photojournalists at the programme, and they vied with one another for her attention.

“Ganga’s mother died while giving birth to her and the father abandoned her after learning about her deformity. I have been running from pillar to post seeking help but I have not given up hope. The government one day will surely come to our help,” said her grandmother Ram Kali.

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bhopal.org

New Abnormalities Seen in Third Generations of Bhopal Children

Mar 4 2013 by Jade in Brighton

At a press conference in Calcutta on Sunday 3rd March 2013, doctors from Bhopal confirmed that congenital birth defects in affected areas of the city are seven times higher than usual rates.

Third generations are increasingly born with psychological and physical deformities as a result of widespread water contamination following the world’s worst industrial disaster in 1984.

Over 28 years ago, on the 3rd December 1984 27 tonnes of deadly gas leaked from a Union Carbide pesticide plant which was built in a heavily populated area of the city. To this day the abandoned factory stands leaking chemicals into the environment nearly 30 years on. The water contamination was widespread around the factory several years prior to the disaster because of indiscriminate dumping of toxic waste from the plant since it started manufacturing pesticides in 1969.

Surveys have shown that in affected areas of Bhopal 3,000 out of 20,000 new-born children are suffering from multiple and serious congenital deformities. Doctors who have worked in affected areas of the city for over 20 years recognize that the abnormalities presented are new and unique in nature from those that have been seen before.

The humanitarian catastrophe in Bhopal has been widely cited as an ongoing disaster. The high levels of chemicals responsible for the congenital anomalies are evident in both the water and the air in the affected areas of the city. Over 120,000 people are still suffering from debilitating illnesses in Bhopal today.